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What is The Karaethon Cycle?

Updated: Jan 17, 2022

The name comes from Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series. For those of you who don't know what The Wheel of Time is, well, I'm surprised you're on this page but quite happy to welcome you to the series!

The Wheel of Time is an epic fantasy series written by Robert Jordan, and completed by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan's passing in 2007. It tells the story of the Dragon Reborn, the reincarnation of an ancient hero, fighting to succeed where his predecessor failed and usher the world into a new age. It's a grand and epic tale, beloved by fantasy fans around the world for its well imagined world-building, gripping plot, and engaging characters.

The Karaethon Cycle is the name given in-universe to the prophecies of the Dragon Reborn. As such, it's a fitting title for my own project: A screen adaptation of the Dragon Reborn's story that remains true to the essential tones of the series, while modernizing certain elements for today's audience.


In 2021, Amazon released the first season of a TV adaptation of The Wheel of Time.

Fans of the show argue - and I think correctly - that it provided some much needed modernization to a good, though dated, work of fiction. I think readers of the series can all agree that the portrayals of gender in particular needed some updating. The show's embrace of queer relationships, the gorgeous production value, the depth of its villains, Rosamund Pike's Moiraine, Abdul Salis's Eamon Valda, and Sophie Okonedo's Siuan Sanche, were other high points of the eight episode season.

Critics of the show contend - and I think with merit - that character development was lacking for several members of the main cast, the tone was too dark, and the pacing was often rushed or confusing.

I want to be very clear on one point. I don't believe as some do that these narrative issues are due to any deficiency on the part of the show's staff or cast.

As a long time writer, I understand how difficult the craft is. At the time of this post, having written my own version of the pilot for this series, I now also understand that adaptation is an equally if not more difficult endeavor. So I have nothing but respect for the creative minds behind the show for taking on a project of this magnitude.

I think the show's essential dilemma was trying to adapt the Wheel of Time to the screen without adhering closely to the well-woven narrative of the books. In my opinion, an adaptation that more closely followed the essential tone of the books would fix many of these problems.

The Project

I'm writing my own adaptation of the series with the goal of making it as faithful as I can to the essential tone and narrative of the books. Or more specifically, Book 1 of the series, as that's what the show covers in its first season.

I'm going to give myself eight episodes worth of room to get from Emond's Field to the Eye of the World. I'll keep the runtime below 60 minutes for each episode, measured using the standard approximation of 1 page per minute for a script.

I want to see if I can put together this kind of adaptation under these constraints. For me, this is not only a creative exercise in exploring the nuances of screenwriting (as I mostly write novels), but also a way for me to grapple with my own complicated, positive and negative feelings about the show and the books both.

I use the word "essential" to describe what I want to bring from the series to this adaptation because I'm not trying to put together a work that matches up word for word with the books. That's never the goal of an adaptation. What is the goal of adaptation is to capture the core essence of its source material, even while evolving it in certain ways. So I'll make plot changes. I'll add scenes you've never seen before, and remove ones that you were hoping to see.

But in the end, what I hope this project will do is weave together a telling of this grand tale that holds true to the fundamental narrative that has captured so many of us, while still being approachable to an audience that has never heard of ta'veren, or Aes Sedai, or even The Dragon Reborn.

So without further ado:

There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But this is a beginning.

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